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Apple is adding in-app purchases and subscriptions to Family Sharing

App Store
App Store (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple is set to let developers add in-app purchases and subscriptions to Family Sharing.
  • That'll prevent families from having to buy the same in-app purchase multiple times.
  • Why oh why did it take this long?

While there will be a ton of talk about Apple's new software announcements and the switch away from Intel for its Mac chips, today's big WWDC opening keynote arguably buried the lede. It was buried deep inside the macOS Big Sur Newsroom post (opens in new tab), but it's there. Apple is letting developers add in-app purchases and subscriptions to Family Sharing!

Hashtag finally.

Developers can now also offer Family Sharing for their in-app purchases and subscriptions, and with support for the WebExtensions API, developers can easily bring extensions built for other browsers over to Safari.

Once this change comes into effect, people will be able to buy an in-app purchase and subscription once and share it with all devices and users that are registered via Family Sharing.

This is huge for those of us who have found themselves buying the same subscription multiple times because Family Sharing wasn't supported. Developers will still need to opt into this change, but any developer who doesn't will surely need a very good reason. In the vast majority of situations, Family Sharing just makes sense.

The change wasn't mentioned in the iOS 14 or iPadOS 14 announcements but it will surely apply to all of Apple's operating systems and devices regardless.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.